A system restricting the advertising of certain foods in children's programming in New Zealand is to be phased in from 1 July.

Television New Zealand, TV Works and Maori Television have adopted the Children's Food Classification System, which was developed by the New Zealand Television Broadcasters Council.

The initiative aims to assist the government's "healthy eating healthy action" plan and consolidates an agreement that was made between broadcasters and regulators last year.

The system is based on the Ministry of Health's food classification guidelines and will be administered by the broadcasters pre-vetting agency, the Television Commercial Approvals Bureau (TVCAB).

NZTBC's chair and CEO of TV Works Brent Impey said that it is hoped the restrictions will address the growing problem of childhood obesity.

"The new Classification reflects the NZTBC's desire to help address the obesity issue by reducing advertising exposure of certain foods that children would view within their programming times," Impey said.

However, he added that obesity was a multi-faceted problem that required a number of solutions and television advertising was only a minor part. "But we are happy to do our bit" he added.

New Zealand's government welcomed the move. Commenting on the news, associate health minister Damien O'Connor said the broadcasters have taken a socially responsible approach in restricting children's exposure to advertisements for unhealthy food.

"The new system gives a clear process for making decisions about what food and drink can be advertised during children's programming times," he said.

"The government has introduced a comprehensive programme aimed at promoting healthy kiwi lifestyles for our young people. We know that by improving nutrition and encouraging people to be physically active and to develop lifelong healthy eating and activity habits - that it will pay off in the long term.

"It is excellent to see broadcasters doing their bit in addressing this issue."